Pure Michigan!

As I sit here reflecting back on what was seriously the best week of 2015 the tears are billowing in the corners of my eyes. Why the tears? Have you ever been somewhere and had such a magnificent time with such amazing people that it literally hurt when you had to leave?  When the sheer gravity of the experience tugs at the heartstrings?  The memory of this week is so fresh, intense, yet fragile, & tender; it is like a heartache that needs to heal.  So what could cause such joy that it literally is painful to leave? Two words, PURE MICHIGAN!!

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The promise of those two words, Pure Michigan, followed by Lake House, are what get me through our long and lately ridiculously cold Northwest Ohio winters.  Those words also get me through the toughest moments life throws at me, like when our dog of 12 years died, husband started a new job after being at a company for 15 years, when we were on snow day #6, when sewage backed up into the basement, etc. Needless to say, the Lake House located in Pure Michigan has produced a little oasis of memories in my mind that I channel when I find myself in the deepest, darkest, most frustrating moments of life.  And then finally, alas, the week I have been longing for via a cocktail of memories, hope, & anticipation for 51 weeks arrives! Destination, Douglas Michigan!

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As we pull up into the driveway after a fun filled caravan up to the Lake House from Toledo the anticipation of memories to be made fills my soul while memories of the past make it sing. I see the porch where my grandfather would sit early in the morning sipping on coffee playing a game of Sorry with the kids while waiting to have eggs & bacon for breakfast as a family.  My eyes smile when they glance past the front patio where my uncle & godfather would walk around in search of deer in the wee hours of the morning and at dusk. And I am filled with pure exhilaration when I see the fire pit where a many songs have been singed, pie iron pizzas cooked, marshmallows roasted, shooting stars viewed, and timeless memories made. We are home for the week. A week filled with love, faith, family, friends, and fun!! A week that will have me longing for July 2016!


This year would mark the first without my grandfather and uncle, thus it was bittersweet. It was a milestone at the Lake House; only having 3 generations instead of 4. They were deeply missed. We made the most of our time & I can’t wait to share!! Our first stop, THE BEACH!!!

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Lake Michigan!! Unsalted & Shark Free!! No joke, this lake is gorgeous!! It always fascinates me when walking the beach and hearing people not only speaking with strong accents but also speaking entirely different languages; people come from far and wide to enjoy all that Lake Michigan has to offer.

(Note the pic below: This is why I will NEVER ditch my stroller! (It also comes in handy when Christmas shopping….there is a cup holder for your latté, come on, why anyone would get rid of that & have to carry all their bags and latté, makes no sense!?!) We jammed all the beach “must haves” in that sucker & stroll it down to the beach).

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Though a bit chillier than past Julys we all made our way into the lake & a few of us were even daring enough to totally submerge in the lake. I mostly enjoyed watching the kiddos play in the water and make fun sandcastles and sand food.

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I definitely ate my weight in sand pizza & sand ice cream thanks to my 4 year old sand chef….thankfully I had some coconut water to wash it down, Lol!

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The only minor hiccup in our beach experience was when our sand chef lost her ice cream scoop; she was so distraught that the couple next to us offered up one of their shovels in place of her ice cream scoop. (Huge thank you to that amazing couple if you are reading this) Thankfully we located the scoop, it was buried in the sand, imagine that! lol!


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After that long and exhausting day at the beach we replenished and quenched our sweet tooth with Kilwins AH-mazing fudge!! We are on vacation….I am fairly certain everything is half the calories on vacation. Lol! And FYI-EVERYTHING tastes better on vacation!

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I can’t wait to share all of our adventures in PURE Michigan!! But for now, I have to go unpack. Be sure to check back & hear all about our garden to plate experience, Frank Lloyd Wright house, beer tasting, street performances & much more! Ciao!













Post Vacation Stress Disorder

While on vacation last week in Douglas, Michigan with my parents, siblings, grandfather, uncle, aunt, cousin, husband and children I experienced a profound state of peace…. peace that I can only compare to prayer.

In the morning I would get up and be greeted by my uncle, the early riser, and then head outside to sit in the red Adirondack chair to read a few chapters (currently reading, My Sisters The Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell). And sometimes in the quite that was only filled by the occasional turning of pages deer would pass by…can you say breathtaking!?

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And each day was filled with an exciting excursion….one afternoon I went to Holland and tasted beer with my brother, perused the interior design stores with my mom, and stopped in at a candy store with my daughter.

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The next day we all went horseback riding….

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and finished off the day at the park where ALL of us acted like kids…..

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Then one night my hubby surprised me. He had my parents watch the kiddos while we went wine tasting, out to dinner, and perused the shops in South Haven, MI. Oh, and the sunsets, talk about romantic….here is a pic of us on the beach smooching during the sunset….

vacation 170The next adventure…canoeing!

vacation 150We row, row, rowed our boat till our little one fell asleep.  It was so peaceful on the water. And I enjoyed the opportunity to canoe with my hubby and then with my aunt.

vacation 050During our vacation I did not engage in any social media, in fact I left my computer at home. And my phone had horrible reception so talking on the phone was out of the question too. And I am glad it was…I think I needed a break from the inauthentic pull social media can prescribe at times. I thoroughly enjoyed time with my family and I am so grateful we had that time…none of us knows when our lifetime is up thus we must treasure the time we have together. Which is precisely what I did and that paired with the 3rd Coast (not west or east coast but the great lakes) or what they call around there, the Lake Effect I was in a state of peace that I can only compare to prayer.

Then it was over. That state of peace was quickly replaced with grief, I think I began grieving the vacation in addition to having to get the household back in order, back to school shopping, and celebrate our youngest turning 3. That first day back was extremely hard for me. Has anyone else ever experienced a sense of heartache at the end of their vacation?

Any tips for decompressing after vacation? Or suggestions on ways to transition the entire family back to reality?